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Resolution to Read in October: The Paranormal

By Realizingresonance @RealizResonance


Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

October is most obviously the month of Halloween, the dark and haunted time of the year when most Americans are in the mood for tricks, treats, and horror movies. In the spirit of the spiritually spooky, Realizing Resonance’s theme of the month is the Philosophy of the Paranormal! This is a rare topic for Philosophy, but I am hoping to have some fun with it. Books on the Paranormal can often be found in the metaphysics section at the bricks and mortar bookstores, a fact that frustrates academic philosophers since it confounds the definition of the metaphysics branch of Philosophy, which is the study of the fundamental essences of reality and the things in it. The bookstore metaphysics section includes such esoteric topics as ghosts, witches, vampires, astrology, tarot cards, and various other mysterious subjects. These areas are rarely of interest to professional philosophers, but I think they promise to be lots of fun, and hopefully a bit enlightening.

My wife and I are interested in the Paranormal and back in 2006 we embarked on an Alaskan Cruise where we attended a small conference about mysterious phenomena. The Alaskan Mystery Cruise was a magnificent experience, with talks on H.A.A.R.P., UFOs, Nikola Tesla, Mel’s Hole, a séance for Johnny Cash, and a Sasquatch hunt in Ketchikan, Alaska! The conference was hosted by the Seattle Museum of Mysteries, now called the Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore, and I have to credit their mystery cruise with significantly inspiring my philosophical journey. My wife and I met and became fairly acquainted with some interesting and quirky people, including a few published authors who gave some good advice and inspiration for this would be writer.

So my Resolution to Read for October is…

Lectures on Psychical Research: Incorporating the Perrott Lectures Given in Cambridge University in 1959 and 1960


C.D. Broad


The Lectures on Psychical Research is a compilation of talks given by British philosopher Charlie Dunbar (C.D.) Broad in the 1950s and 60s, a time when Paranormal research had a little less stigma and baggage than today. C.D. Broad thought that Psychical Research was interesting for Philosophy, because reports of Paranormal phenomenon, if true, represent violations of certain basic limiting principles. Basic limiting principles are distinguished from scientific laws like gravity, in that they are the general assumptions about reality which most people simply take for granted. For example, most of us assume that our own thoughts are inaccessible to other minds, that our personalities won’t be haunting any houses when we die, and that the future cannot directly cause events in the present such as our becoming aware of them ahead of time. Paranormal events are contraventions of these limiting principles, so if things like telepathy, ghosts, and precognition can be verified as real, with empirically sound evidence, then it would say something very interesting about reality, and our assumed notions of it.

I have to admit I am a hopeful skeptic. I really enjoy the thought of finding proof that ghosts or Sasquatch exists, and I know credible people who are convinced that these entities exist based on their own direct personal experiences with them. As a would-be philosopher I feel that it is my duty to begin as an open-minded skeptic on such strange and mysterious subjects, and I am expecting to use Broad’s Lectures on Psychical Research as a guide for this approach. As a professional forecast practitioner I can use what I know about predicting the future to investigate precognition and prophecy, something I have been eager to do for a while. October should be a fun and spooky month.

Happy Readings!

Also, besides being the month of Halloween, October is the month when the Realizing Resonance Philosophy Blog celebrates our one year anniversary! I feel like this is quite a milestone. I feel like this makes me a real blogger.

Jared Roy Endicott

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